A GWENT Tory AM likened parts of his own constituency to the third world and Eastern Europe in an Assembly speech.

Mohammad Asghar suggested that the Welsh Government had turned parts of South Wales East - which covers all of Gwent - into a developing or post-communist country in a debate on Wednesday.

Labour First minister Carwyn Jones said the third world comparison by Mohammad Asghar was a profound insult while Alun Davies, AM for Blaenau Gwent, asked for Mr Asghar to apologise.

South Wales East AM Mr Asghar, who was speaking during a Welsh Conservative debate on Welsh Labour's alleged policy failures during 15 years in government, said the poorest regions in the UK come from his area – “Blaenau Gwent, Islwyn, Torfaen, Methyr, those areas.”

He said: “This government must be ashamed, you must be ashamed, of giving people bad unemployment there... The people in those areas are screaming for the help.

“In this part of the world if you look at Newport, Merthyr, Caerphilly, Pontypool, Hengoed... these areas, go and see and look at empty shops.

Raising his voice, Mr Asghar said: “Don’t tell me! Don’t tell me! I go there every week. The record they’ve got is virtually the worst in the world! We are getting this European funding - you failed to deliver!

"You bring this part of the world like third world, like East European countries!”

Carwyn Jones, first minister, told the debate that Mr Asghar had said “that Blaenau Gwent was part of the third world. That’s what he said.

Mr Jones said: “To describe Blaenau Gwent in those terms is a profound insult to the people who live there and is a profound insult to those people who live in developing countries who face very difficult lives – I ask him to reconsider that point."

At the end of the debate the AM for Blaenau Gwent and natural resources minister, Alun Davies, said: “I ask the Conservative member of South East Wales reflects on what he says, withdraws his remarks and apologises to the people of Blaenau Gwent."

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said last night: “After 15 years of successive Labour governments and the mis-spending of £4billion of EU aid, Blaenau Gwent and other Valleys communities remain amongst the very poorest parts of Europe despite the accession of former communist bloc countries.”

Plaid AM for South Wales East Jocelyn Davies said the member’s comments were silly and ill-considered.